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  • 17:12:24 AEST
  • Wednesday, 19 December 2018

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Next Race to Jump

VRC Sprint Classic

Distance 1,200m
Grade Group 1
Track  Flemington
Prizemoney $1,000,000
Class Weight-for-age
2017 winner

Redzel ($4)

 

The VRC Sprint Classic (formally known as the Darley Classic) is the premier sprint race of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

It is held at the final meet of the carnival, Stakes Day, up the long straight of Flemington racecourse. This race is the last chance for Australia's crack sprinters to secure a lucrative winner's cheque before being sent for a spell over summer.

In the 58-year history of the VRC Sprint Classic, only three horses have managed to go back-to-back. The most famous of these is champion mare Black Caviar, who won the 2010 and 2011 editions.

Another interesting stat from a punting point of view is that no favourite has won the race since Black Caviar's last victory. Indeed, three of the past five winners have saluted at double figure odds. 

The VRC Sprint Classic couldn't be any more different from the Manikato Stakes, regarded as the other feature sprint race of the Melbourne spring.

While the Manikato is held under lights at the narrow, tight-turning Moonee Valley track, the VRC Sprint Classic is held in (typically) bright sunshine, as the field run arrow-straight up the long and wide Flemington straight.

This "straight six" course is unique to Flemington in Australia, and always adds a distinctive quality to the sprint races held here. This is especially true in the VRC Sprint Classic.

As it is the last day of the carnival, the grass near the inside rail has often deteriorated, leading the jockeys to take their mounts over to the grandstand side. 

2017 VRC Sprint Classic

Last year's edition of the race saw the field split between the running rail and grandstand sides. 

It was the horses on the grandstand side who had the better of it, with all placings coming from here. Dual Everest champion Redzel claimed first prize, ahead of the fast finishing Terravista and Impending.  

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